There is no doubt whatsoever that this essay is going to provoke both positive and negative responses from readers. But our purpose in writing it is to provoke enlightened responses from our intelligent readers â responses that would dispel complacency over (what this writer perceives as) unfortunate instances of misguided tradition. Let us at the outset remind the Muslim reader of the prophecy of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah Most High be upon him) concerning the Day of Judgment:
âNarrated Anas ibn Malik:
One day when the Messenger of Allah was sitting amongst us, he dozed off. He then raised his head, smiling. We asked: What makes you smile, Oh Messenger of Allah?
He said: A Surah has just been revealed to me, and then recited: âIn the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful. Verily We have given thee al-Kawthar (fountain of abundance). Therefore turn to thy Lord for prayer and offer sacrifice, and surely thy enemy is cut off (from the good).â Then he (the Holy Prophet) asked: Do you know what al-Kawthar is? We said: Allah and His Messenger know best. The Holy Prophet said: It (Kawthar) is a fountain (spring or river) which my Lord, the Exalted and Glorious, has promised me, and there is an abundance of good in it. It is a cistern and my people will come to it on the Day of Resurrection, and cups there (for drinking) would be equal to the number of stars. A servant will be turned away from (among those gathered there). Upon this I shall say: My Lord, he is one of my people. He (the Lord) will say: You do not know that he created new things (in Islam) after you. Ibn Hujr made this addition in the Hadith: â He (the Holy Prophet) was sitting amongst us in the mosque, and He (Allah) said: (You donât know) what he innovated after you.â
The implication of this Hadith is that those who change the religion that was left by Prophet Muhammad would pay a very bitter price for such misguided conduct. It should not be difficult for anyone to realize that the most dangerous place of all in which to effect any change in the religion of Islam as established by Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah Most High be upon him) is in the House of Allah (Masjid).
Let us also recall another prophecy concerning the alarming extent to which Muslims would deviate from the original religion of Islam. The Prophet prophesied that Muslims could be divided into seventy-three sects and that in such an event all but one would enter into Hell:
âNarrated Abdullah ibn Amr: Allahâs Messenger said: There will befall my Ummah exactly (all those) evils which befell the people of Israel, so much so that if there was one amongst them who openly committed fornication with his mother, there will be among my Ummah one who will do that, and if the people of Israel were fragmented into seventy-two sects my Ummah would be fragmented into seventy-three sects. All of them will be in Hell-Fire except one sect. They (the Companions) said: Allahâs Messenger, which is that? Whereupon he said: It is one to which I and my companions belong.â (Sunan Tirmidhi)